I was excited to see this week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge — find an oak tree to observe. It was perfect for us. For one, I actually know an oak tree when I see one and, two, our yard is full of them. Thanks to yet another rainy week, plus sickness in our home, we were unable to go to our nature center again this week, but, with this week’s challenge focus, we were able to do a nature study right in our own yard — or, technically, at our own table since I went outside and brought in specimens to study since it was raining.
I started second-guessing myself right away because I had never really noticed acorns in our yard and oak trees are supposed to have acorns, right? Well, according to Barb, at Handbook of Nature Study, not necessarily. However, I did find some acorns under our tree when I was actually looking for them.
In addition to some acorns, I also brought in a leaf for use to trace/draw/make rubbings of. I was really surprised, when I got online to positively identify our oak tree, that I didn’t know which kind of oak tree we had. I’d always thought it was a live oak, but as soon as I saw a picture of an actual live oak, I knew that wasn’t it. Next, I thought maybe it was a white oak, since we have lots of those in our area.
Nope, it wasn’t a white oak either. After much debate and scouring this wonderful site, I was able to fairly positively identify our tree as a southern red oak, though there was some debate that it might be a cherrybark oak. Next week, when we go to my sister’s house, we’re going to collect some leaves and acorns from her oak tree and see if it’s the same species. I know that it produces a lot more acorns.
In addition to our oak tree, we saw several squirrels and a blue jay in the yard. Then, while I was sitting at the dining room table later in the day, I looked out and saw a bird I’d never seen before on our birdfeeder. I couldn’t get a picture of it, but I think I identified it, as accurately as my faulty memory could, as an immature female mourning warbler.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why the leaf is so much bigger than everything else, I decided to cheat with the leaf and I traced it, rather than free-handing it. So, have you gotten outside this week?